Harris v Balk – 1905. Case Brief

Harris v Balk 1905

pg160 / sup 54


Harris NC  $180 –> Balk NC $300 –> Epstein MD

$180  ——————————————–>

Harris goes to MD to visit

Epstein sues Harris in MD to recover part of Balks debt (this satisfied quasi in rem over Balks debt to Epstein

Harris was personally served the writ of attachment on the debt

MD court finds that Balk does indeed owe Epstein

Harris did not contest the attachment and pays Epstein $180

Balk then sues Harris in NC for the $180 he already gave to Epstein

Harris claims as his defense that he already paid Epstien

Trial court rules in favor of Balk, (saying Harris had to pay twice)

reson being that the situs origin of the debt was NC so that means MD has no jurisdiction


The supreme court found that the quasi in rem ruling in MD was valid Harris does not have to pay in the NC case

because “the obligation of a debtor to pay his debt clings to and accompanies him wherever he goes”

The NC court must give full faith in credit to the MD court and it forcing Harris to pay Balks debt to Epstein.


Epstein: Can we sue Balk in MD? Probably yes because his business has established minimum contacts and can be sued as long as it applies to the contacts created from the transactions

– In Personum? No, because he is not Pennoyer present

– Quasi In Rem? Yes, over the debt.

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